NEWS: We've passed the $9,000 mark! The book is now 128 pages. Both print book editions are all claimed. There's still time to get a lPDF, with bonus material never to be published elsewhere.
The goal of this project is to publish a limited edition of a new horror RPG by an industry veteran—in a premium, Smythe-sewn, 6"x9" hardbound book—personalized with your name stamped on the cover!
What is the D13 RPG?
Conceptually it's a game for running truly horrific adventures in campaigns across time and space. Characters face the real threat of death or madness in individual adventures—unaware that they are also threads of existence for supernatural beings battling a greater darkness.
Mechanically it's an easy attribute-and-skill based system—4 attributes, any sort of skill. Actions use 1d4+1d10 (read 0-9) for a number range of 1-13, with beneficial doubles at the low end. For adventures involving psychic abilities, a tarot deck (or a poker deck) depicts the uncertainty and danger of those powers. For combat actions and turn sequence, a Ouija* board can be used.
Why a D13 RPG?
When I designed the Dark Conspiracy RPG in 1991, I envisioned a world into which any sort of horror tale could be adapted. But that setting's framework also constrained the time, place, and even themes of those adventures. I've long wanted to do something more far-reaching.
Also, most horror RPGs either dial back the danger to let PCs survive from one adventure to the next, or make them part of a secret society, or abandon altogether the idea of campaigning so as to convey true horror.
The D13 RPG is a solution to all those problems. It lets GMs run truly horrific adventures that may maim, madden, or kill PCs—without killing the campaign.
Why a Premium Limited Edition?
I've never before published a premium edition of a game, but this is a dream project. January is Kickstarter's "Make 100" month, so this seems a perfect time for a limited edition. Smythe-sewn is the best binding possible, and research led me to a printer who can actually personalize the cover. I've seen their quality in books by my friend Andy Hopp, and it's excellent.
What is Smythe-Sewn?
In most books nowadays, the pages are trimmed on all four edges, then the inside edge is roughened and glued to the binding. Sometimes individual pages come loose from the book.
Smythe-sewn pages are stitched together into groups called "signatures," and those signatures are then glued to the binding, which makes the book more durable. It also makes the book easier to stay open at any page.
Who Am I?
I'm an Origins-award-winning game designer with 30+ years of publishing history, best known for the Dark Conspiracy RPG, the Dragon Dice game, Mechwarrior 2nd Ed., the Planes of Chaos boxed set (with Wolfgang Baur), and the core mechanics for the Sovereign Stone and Serenity RPGs. I've been on staff at GDW and TSR, worked with Gary Gygax, and freelanced for many other game publishers. Nowadays I'm retired in rural Nebraska where I self-publish games for the joy of it. You can learn more about me at www.lestersmith.com, or search for "Popcorn Press" on DriveThruRPG.com and DriveThruCards.com.
Who Is the Artist?
Lenka Šimečková is an amazing young illustrator of the dark and bizarre, from the Czech Republic. I first became aware of her work while designing the D6xD6 RPG in 2014. She provided two character illos for that book, and I've wanted her illustrations for the D13 RPG ever since. I've already purchased rights for several pieces (the game cover and illos on this page); this Kickstarter will help to fund more.
Are There Stretch Goals?
A bigger budget means the book can have added pages and more art:
- PASSED! $7,000—112 pages total.
- PASSED! $8,000—120 pages total.
- PASSED! $9,000—128 pages total.
- $10,000—136 pages total.
More Game System Details?
You can learn more about the structure and mechanics in this #rpgnet Q&A transcript.
Any Final Words?
Thank you for any help you can offer, whether by pledging or simply spreading the word. I truly appreciate your involvement in this dream project. Cheers!
*Ouija is a trademark of Parker Brothers. No infringement intended here. The D13 RPG will use the less common term "spirit board."
Risks and challenges
I've completed a dozen other Kickstarter projects successfully, but it's my first time working with this print company. Their document requirements are different from others I've dealt with, so there's some learning involved, but their communication is very good, so I have every confidence in the project.
I always like to build some extra time into a project's schedule. The December delivery date is set with that in mind, to allow plenty of leeway. My personal target date is actually October, in time for Halloween!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (22 days)